‘Glee’ Recap: Some Are Moving On While Others Tread Water in ‘Choke’
It's here: Kurt and Rachel's big audition for NYADA. But they're not the only ones in need of a little help from their friends. The rest of the club, along with a teacher or two, will need one final push to give them the strength they need to take the next step. PopCrush has the full recap. Beware: Spoilers after the jump.
Rachel is going through an intense regimen to prepare for her big audition. As usual, Finn is by her side, playing the supportive boyfriend, and she's as self-centered as ever. Kurt is preparing as well, with a song from 'Phantom of the Opera,' but he's worried his choice is too safe. As he tells Blaine, he needs something "fresh, edgy and unpredictable" to impress he judges. No one ever got ahead by playing it safe, and Kurt thinks his bravery will be rewarded. Rachel thinks that Kurt's instincts to take a chance are misguided, and that he's sabotaging himself.
Finn hears Puck talking to a girl in the hallway about how he doesn't need to graduate high school. Puck seems ambivalent to the idea of graduation, but says he's going to do it the only way he knows how: by seducing his geography teacher. It's the only class he's struggling in, and as long as he passes it, he can graduate. All he has to do is turn on the charm. When he approaches the teacher, though, she isn't as easily fooled as he thought she'd be, and she tells him to apply himself. In a fit of rage, he decides to ditch school, singing 'School's Out,' Alice Cooper makeup and everything.
Roz Washington catches Mercedes, Santana, Brittany and Sugar making a crack about a black eye that Coach Bieste is sporting, and she resolves to teach them all a lesson. With Sue's help, she comes to them and gives them an assignment to turn a song about domestic abuse into a song about empowerment. Sue and Roz are shocked, though, when the girls decide on 'Cell Block Tango,' (from the musical 'Chicago'), a song about wives murdering their husbands. More shocking is Bieste's reaction: she runs from the room crying, and then confesses to Sue and Roz that her black eye was inflicted by her husband Cooter, and that she's scared.
Finn is concerned about Puck, and he recruits the football team to have a bro-tervention with him to show him what life could end up like if he doesn't go to college. It seems like someone has beat them to it, though, when Puck's dad comes back after a five-year absence, broke and asking for money. Puck gives him the money, almost everything he had, but after seeing this, he resolves to graduate and never be like his father.
The NYADA judge, it turns out, is Carmen, a notoriously critical fixture of the Broadway community, played by Whoopi Goldberg. Kurt was going to go with the safe option, the song from 'Phantom,' but at the last minute, he decides that this is the exact moment to take a risk, and goes with 'Not the Boy Next Door' from 'The Boy From Oz.' He totally kills it. Carmen is impressed, and it seems that Kurt has set a high standard for Rachel. Rachel goes with her safe choice, 'Don't Rain On My Parade' from 'Funny Girl.' And … she … CHOKES. She only gets a few bars into it before stopping, and she can't go on. This could change things drastically for Rachel.
As the football team stays up long into the night helping Puck cram for his geography test, they break into a questionable punk cover of 'The Rain In Spain' from "My Fair Lady.' Call it sleep deprivation, but something about this seemed wildly out of place, as Puck's rock and roll forays often do.
After being urged to leave Cooter, Coach Bieste decides to move in with her sister, and confesses to the New Directions girls that she was abused. It's an emotional moment, and when the students tell her that they always thought Cooter was a great guy, she brings up the important point that "no one knows what goes on behind closed doors." The next day, the girls sing 'Shake It Out' (Florence + The Machine) for the coach, and she's so touched by it, but we see that, at that point, she has returned to Cooter, and that leaving an abusive relationship is never as easy as simply packing your bags.
Puck doesn't appear to be taking his geography final seriously, but when he thinks back to the song, he's able to start stringing together some answers. He ends up finishing the test, and feels pretty good about it. He thanks his teammates for being there when his father wasn't.
Rachel, still incredibly broken up about her NYADA audition, is frustrated. She banked on this one dream, and now she sees it getting away from her. She sings 'Cry' by Kelly Clarkson, and in a montage set to the song, we see Puck get his test back, graded. A big, red 'F.'
Senior prom is right around the corner, and it seems like everybody should be getting ready to say goodbye, but for Rachel and Puck, things seem more uncertain than ever.